Walterstown are the Corn na Bóinne 2020 champions! An injury time goal by Robbie Cunningham and an inspired performance from Brian O’Connell ensured the Blacks left Páirc Tailteann with silverware on Monday evening.
See our gallery at the end of this match report for all the photos from Monday’s win.
The final scoreline suggests that Martin O’Connell’s men cruised to victory but don’t be fooled by it. Only a single score separated the sides as second half injury time approached. Walterstown heart’s stopped. In search of an equaliser, Castletown came as close as you can get when Robert Hoey unleashed a rasper of a shot. It ricocheted off Johnny Davis’ crossbar, then bounced back and most importantly didn’t bounce over the line. The relief was real and thereafter Walterstown went on and made sure of the win.
When Mark McCormack offloaded possession to Robbie Cunningham, he thundered forward, brushed off the advances of the opposition defence and planted the ball passed Jason Ginnitty in the Castletown net. It was a brilliant finish from Cunningham and the score that made sure the Blacks took home a title for the first time since 2003.
Despite only being three up late in the day, Walterstown were the better team throughout. They had way more firepower in attack and Brian O’Connell put in a superb 60 minutes at full forward. He finished up with a personal tally of 1-5 and as man of the match. Captain Mark McCormack also had a cracking came and chipped in with three points, while the introduction of Cunningham in the 41st minute really turned Walterstown’s fortunes around.
The Blacks had a blistering start and led 1-3 to no score after just twelve minutes. Mark McCormack opened their account in the first minute when he split the posts and soon after they registered their first goal of the evening. It came from 2020 captain Alban Crosbie who took possession of a Castletown kick out in the middle of the park. He picked off a pass to his midfield partner Barry O’Connell, continued his run before reclaiming possession and finishing low to the net. A point each from the O’Connell brothers followed and Castletown were left stunned and they would have been even more stunned if Walterstown were more clinical.
With 16 minutes on the clock Walterstown were forced to make their first change when Ruairí O’Dowd was forced off with a shoulder injury. As their opening Intermediate Football Championship meeting with Syddan fast approaches, it now seems they will have to plan without the services of O’Dowd. He is expected to be out of action for at least three weeks following the injury he suffered on Monday.
Castletown enjoyed the better of the exchanges during the second quarter. They cut the Blacks’ lead down to just two by the 28th minute thanks to points from Darren Finney (free), Shane Hoey and Thomas Smith.
Walterstown went 14 minutes of the first half without a score but a point from Mark McCormack in the 26th was just what they needed after Castletown’s purple patch. Before half time they tagged on two more to take a 1-6 to 0-5 lead in to the break. Both points came from Brian O’Connell, the first from a free after Aron McLoughlin was impeded and the second from a mark from out on the right.
After the turnaround Mark McCormack tagged on a point and it was his pass that set up Davy Donnellan for another just a minute later.
With 43 minutes played the scoreboard read 1-9 to 0-8 and then game the game’s second goal. It went to Walterstown when Robbie Cunningham’s ball in found Brian O’Connell one on one with the ‘keeper. His finished looked like an easy one but he made hard work of it but eventually got the ball over the line to give his side a 2-9 to 0-8 advantage.
Down the other end, a close range free, tapped over by Kevin Ross, kept Castletown in the mix right up until the death. However, they always looked like they were going to need a goal if they had any chance of pulling this game out of the bag. And they came so close too. The woodwork was their enemy and Walterstown’s saviour.
And then came Cunningham’s goal; the score that made very sure that the Corn na Boinne Cup for 2020 spent the night in Walterstown. Just one night mind you because St Pat’s and Trim have their sites set on it!
SCORERS: Walterstown – Brian O’Connell 1-5 (1f, 1 mark), Mark McCormack 0-3, Alban Crosbie 1-0, Robbie Cunningham 1-0, Barry O’Connell 0-1, Davy Donnellan 0-1. Castletown – Darren Finney 0-6 (4f), Kevin Ross 0-5 (3f), Thomas Smith 0-1, Shane Hoey 0-1.
WALTERSTOWN: John Davis; Eoghan O’Mahony, Brian McGrane, Conor Farrelly; Aron McLoughlin, Alan Wall, Cathal Hennelly; Barry O’Connell, Alban Crosbie; Davy Donnellan, Ruairí O’Dowd, Mark McCormack; Conor O’Sullivan, Brian O’Connell, Adam Treanor. SUBS: Peter Reynolds replaced R O’Dowd (inj) 17 mins, Robbie Cunningham replaced A Crosbie 41 mins, Conor Lenehan replaced A Treanor 56, Johnny Geoghegan replaced Barry O’Connell 64 mins.
CASTLETOWN: Johnathon Ginnitty; Eoin Reid, Gerard Farrelly, Noel Smyth; Killian Price, Evan Hoey, Killian Markey; Shane Hoey, Declan Cribbin; Thomas Smith, Darren Finney, Riain Monaghan; Damien Ginnitty, Kevin Ross, Mark Kelly. SUBS: Robert Hoey replaced E Reid (HT), Alex Matthews replaced M Kelly 41 mins, Francis Hoey for J Ginnitty 59 mins, Paul Bellew for K Markey 62 mins.
REFEREE: Joseph Curran (St Michael’s).